I suspect I was born with the talent to view myself as the orientation point of a widely expanding universe. My divorce after a 26 year marriage merely reinforced a lifelong tendency to see the world in terms of me. No matter how many years you are married, a divorce becomes all consuming, where you measure how the significance of a moment, a conversation, an action in terms of its effect on you. The questions that consume you all ensue from that one event, that one change, taking over your life. How will I survive the hurt and pain? How will I help the children through the changes to their lives? How will I pay the house payment? Who will partner me for card tournaments, mow the lawn, deal with the water heater? This process reinforced a natural tendency to interpret the world through the "me" lens...until a three-part wake up call.
The first ring of the alarm came from Match.com man. We were at lunch having a very nice time together discussing my frustration over my 21-year-old son. I was frustrated because I wanted him to take an action and make a decision, but he was resisting all nagging to hurry up and decide. So I moaned over margaritas about my inability to motivate my son, expecting sympathy from the man who is normally so supportive. To my everlasting shock, Match.com man didn’t empathize, didn't give me sympathy, and didn't even agree with me. He just looked at me and said “I don’t mean to be harsh, babe, but this isn’t about you." What! Did he just tell me it wasn’t all about me? And the alarm just kept ringing as he continued: "You might want to let your son have the time and space to work through his own choices in his own way, in his own time because this is about him."
Thank goodness I had a margarita to gulp because I was speechless, which I hate, and because he was right. It was about my son, who needed not nagging and frustration from me but support and love. So, I told Match.com man something a man doesn’t hear from a woman very often: “Babe, you’re right!”
The second ring of the alarm came at work. In this situation, my boss was talking to me about an operational scenario, and I, being so anxious to please, apologized, somehow sure it was my fault. After all, if the universe goes awry, it must be my fault because it revolves around me. My boss looked at me in her thoughtful way and said, “I hate to break this to you, but it isn’t always about you”. Again, I had to concede that she was right. I was overusing my "me" lens and transforming a work issue into a "my" issue.
Finally, the third wakeup call came from a friend. I was telling her about a situation early in my divorce process when I was seriously down in the dumps. My friend, who had listened to every one of my stories throughout the whole process, just looked at me and said “Girl, for the umpteenth time, this it isn’t about you, it’s about the divorce. It’s time to move on and you need to be getting over it” She’s an honest friend for sure. This was her way of telling me to swap out my "me" lens for a "you" lens. I think she was trying to tell me you need to focus on something looking forward rather than something looking backward. I hope she was telling me she loved me, too, in spite of my repetative stories.
A three-alarm wake up call, the universe (of course) telling me that it is time for me to stop making the subject of every sentence about me, to move away from the center and to expand with an expanding universe. So I'm trying, I’m owning up to it and Match.com man thinks I'm making progress. As he recently pointed out, “Babe, you may not think you’re the center of the universe, but definitely the solar system!” And I say to him, how awesome is that?
My Center of Universe Wishes for You
I wish you know that you are the center of universe and it's surrounded with love and gratitude for you.
I hope you see how important you are in the universe and the incredible impacts you have on everyone around you. You may not know it, but others think you are the center of the universe, and they love you for it. What a gift!
I hope you have that one honest friend, who in the middle of your moaning and groaning, will look at you with love (and maybe some impatience) and will tell you the truth even if it's hard to hear.
I hope you have one person in your life who gives you total and absolute support sprinkled with love, honesty and caring.
I hope you know how much I care about all of you. You inspire me everyday to be a better woman, friend, partner, and co-worker. And, while I may seem self-centered, I look outward towards you for all my motivation to grow, take risks, and be just me, the center of the solar system.
As always, with infinite love and gratitude,